Infuse Issue 11 May 2020 | Page 25

Something new to chew on Nutrition perspectives on ‘new’ foods from collagen to pea protein by Catherine Saxelby, Award-winning author and Freelance writer C atherine Saxelby is an Australian dietitian and nutritionist known for her no-nonsense approach to food, eating and diets. With a diverse background, she is prolific in the media, having written thousands of articles and contributed to many publications. Kombucha Kombucha (pronounced kom-boo-chah) is a slightly sweet, slightly acidic, fermented beverage made from a base of tea. It is made from water, tea and sugar (the substrate for the fermentation). So you start with sugar but it largely disappears during the making of kombucha. The tea infusion mixed with a SCOBY (which stands for a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’). The fermentation by this tea fungus or ‘mother’ is the process that ferments the sugar and yields acetic acid (which gives it that characteristic sharp taste), carbonic acid and carbon dioxide gas (which adds the bubbles). Does kombucha really stack up as that ‘something special’? The short answer is ‘not really’. The long answer? Well, you MAY ingest some friendly bacteria to help your digestion, but no-one knows for sure. It’s been drunk to assist gut function for centuries in Japan, Russia and Germany but there’s not a huge amount of research into its health benefits. fruit © Dietitian Connection To my way of thinking, its greatest advantage is its lower sugar content to that of regular soft drinks, combined with its refreshment value as a tart yet effervescent drink. article continues overleaf... 25 Infuse | May 2020